Cammo Style Love: November 2015

Friday, November 27, 2015

Taking Care of My Family All Year Long: Military Family Appreciation Month

This post was sponsored by the MetLife TRICARE Dental Program as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central

As November, and Military Family Appreciation month, comes to an end, it reminded me that the need for support for families like myself isn't something we need just one month out of the year. There are organizations and people that support us all year long. I am so thankful that many of these organizations exist and have made it one of my goals to share their stories on this blog. I encourage all of you to learn about these organizations so that you can use them, and share them with people in your life. As a military family we also feel its important to give back to both our military community, so we volunteer our time giving back to these same organizations. It isn't just about getting support and having a month set aside for people to appreciate you. Giving back to those that are in your circle, whether military or civilian, is such an important part of life. If you're looking for a way to get involved here are some easy ways to get started!

1) Operation Homefront keeps a list of current needs they are seeking help for.
2) Join, Donate and Volunteer with National Military Family Association 
3) Become a Blue Star Neighbor and encourage others to support a military family in their community.
4) Donate to Luke's Wings, a charity that provides military family members with flights to be by the side of their wounded service member as quickly and stress free as possible.
5) Visit the tabs I have up top to find other ways to support military families.

As a military family I am also thankful for blessings like these that have blessed our lives personally, and the lives of others that we know. One of the other many blessings we have is access to affordable health care. While military families are granted TRICARE health care (or pay for extremely affordable health care on TRICARE Reserve Select), we do have to purchase dental care. However TriCare and MetLife have made that easy for us, but providing us with quality dental care at a great price. We are so blessed to be able to have access to inexpensive health care as a military family. And as a National Guard family we can access this as well. One of the reasons we were able to do this so well is by choosing TDP {TRICARE Dental Program} with MetLife. With TDP we are able to receive great dental care, from a choice of amazing local dentists. As someone with a fear of dentists, it is super important that I am able to find an amazing dentist and not have to worry about the quality of my care and what benefits I will receive. With TRICARE Dental we receive the following benefits:

  • Two cleanings and two exams per year, at no cost, when a network dentist is seen
  • Sealants on permanent molars for children through the age of 18, with a 20% cost share
  • Orthodontic coverage for children {one of my biggest worries, because I remember what it was like to get braces!)
  • $1,300 Dental Program Annual Maximum per enrollee per plan year
  • $1,200 Accidental Annual maximum per enrollee per plan year
  • One Athletic Mouth Guard per consecutive 12-month period, with a 50% cost share {and we have little ones that are headed towards being more active in sports and this is much appreciated!}
If you are military family, active, reserve or National Guard, I highly recommend MetLife TRICARE Dental Program. As Military Family Appreciation month winds down, take steps to care for your military family by enrolling in TRICARE Dental.

Follow Tricare Dental Program on Facebook

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Santa HQ is coming to Northern Virginia November 14th {and Nine other Locations in the US} #DCNoVAadventures

Usually you won't hear a peep out of me about Christmas until after Thanksgiving; but I'm willing to make an exception when it comes to making sure you have the perfect Santa experience with your little ones. And one of the coolest places to visit that jolly man in red is coming to Tysons Corner!

For seven weeks, Nov 5th - December 24th, you can visit with Santa at Santa HQ, brought to you by HGTV. Take your picture with Santa, take an 'Elfie Selfie, star in your own music video and use Elf-Ray vision to explore Santa's Workshop. HGTV and DIY Television stars will also be present at certain locations. Alison Victoria, from Kitchen Crashers, will be at the Tysons location on November 20th. Before you leave make sure you enter to win HGTVs $10,000 Spreading Holiday Cheer Sweepstakes! What is probably the coolest thing about the Santa HQ experience is that you can make reservations. For a mom of three I think that is pretty darn cool. For a military spouse mom it's probably the best thing ever, especially if your spouse is gone. Make sure to visit Santa HQ on the web for more information and to grab your slot to see the big guy.

See below to find the dates and locations nearest you!! And for all my DC/NoVA readers, we'll see you November 14th. Make sure to use #loveHGTV and share you pictures on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!

Chandler Fashion Center, Chandler, opens Nov. 7
Scottsdale Fashion Center, Scottsdale, opens Nov. 14 

Vintage Faire, Modesto, opens Nov. 5
Los Cerritos Center, Cerritos, opens Nov. 7
Lakewood Center, Lakewood, Calif., opens Nov. 7

Flatiron Crossing, Broomfield, opens Nov. 7

Danbury Fair, Danbury, opens Nov. 6

New Jersey:
Deptford Mall, Deptford Township, opens Nov. 5

Washington Square, Portland, opens Nov. 7

Washington D.C. area:
Tysons Corner Center in Virginia opens Nov. 14

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Monday, November 9, 2015

MilSpouse Stories - The Deployment Boyfriend

Continuing on with the MilSpouse Stories series I wanted to talk about something most military spouses will get when they see the title...."Deployment Boyfriend."  Don't worry, its nothing sinister or scandalous. In fact, with most of my friends its a running joke. You might have heard the term, "surrogate spouse," or heard Army wives giggle while talking about their 'Jody'.

Well, my deployment boyfriend isn't a guy, or even a surrogate spouse in the form of one of my best girlfriends (they just stay my best girlfriends). No, my deployment is in fact many boyfriends and ones that sing. They're the boys of country music and they sing to me whenever I want.

Music has always been connected to my soul. All of my emotions are wrapped up in music, and it wouldn't be a rare occurrence for a song to bring tears to my eyes. So for me, I turn to music in times of separation from my husband, usually romantic ones or happy, fun ones. The last time around it was the boys of country music - Luke Bryan, Cole Swindell, Sam Hunt, Thomas Rhett, and the list goes on. They cheered me up, made me cry, made me sentimental and romantic feelings. For some people its movies, and books...or maybe its their crafts or going out. Everyone has things that keep them busy or preoccupied. For me, its my escape, my happy place. One might say I get a little obsessed, but sometimes you just need to get away from it all during these times. The overwhelming aspects of facing many months alone is at times daunting, no matter how many times you've done it. I consider myself to be an expert at it, but that doesn't mean I handle it with expertise every time. The other day I was watching the CMAs, and Luke Bryan was accepting his entertainer of the year award. I got a little teary as he thanked his wife for sticking by him as he goes out touring for months and months on end. Granted, he's not deployed at war, but that doesn't mean she doesn't miss him like  miss my husband. And here she is sharing him with the whole world and countless ridiculous female fans, like myself. The music gets me through the rough times, and I think its only fair to thank those that make a small sacrifice to share their talents with the rest of the world right?

Music is the very essence of many people's souls. They get it, it speaks to them. And sure the people who are giving it to us are celebrities, make tons of money, get to go to fancy parties and have a status that puts them in the limelight. But they bring music to us, and that's awesome. Its part of our parties, weddings, road trips and funerals. Our favorite movies usually have amazing soundtracks that draw emotions out of us, without us even realizing it.

So thank you country boys (and your wives and families), for giving me the music that helps me get through the tough times and happy times. Thanks for being my "deployment boyfriend."

My Current Deployment Boyfriend Play List

1. Luke Bryan - Strip it Down
2. Luke Bryan - Home Alone Tonight
3. Chase Rise - Gonna Wanna Tonight
4. Chris Young - I'm Coming Over
5. Cole Swindell - A Dozen Roses and a Six-Pack
6. Sam Hunt - Cop Car
7. Sam Hunt - Come Over (acoustic ep)
8. Thomas Rhett - Playing with fire
9. Lee Brice - I don't Dance
10. Michael Ray - Somewhere South
11. Jason Aldean - Burnin' It Down
12. Cole Swindell - Hope You Get Lonely Tonight
13. Cannan Smith - Love You Like That

what gets you through the tough times?
do you have a deployment boyfriend?

Check out this amazing new book, written by Spouse for Spouses!

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Nutcracker Ballet comes to Manassas {giveaway}

Dance has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I think ballet is just the most beautiful thing ever. And supporting the local arts is very important to me. That's why I am proud to promote the Northern Virginia Youth Ballet and their performance of the Nutcracker, coming to the Hylton Performing Arts Center November 28th!

This year's performance is special because of two special guests, Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky, former Principal Dances from American Ballet Theater. This is an amazing opportunity to see some amazing dancing that you would have to travel far to see, right here in our own backyard.

Image credit - B. Payden Photography/Northern Virginia Youth Ballet 

CSL is partnering with the NVYB and giving away two tickets to the 6pm show on Saturday, November 28th. Giveaway ends Saturday, November 14th

How to Enter:

1) Leave a Comment telling me who would take

extra entries

2) follow me on facebook or twitter
(leave user name)

3)Follow Northern Virginia Youth Ballet on Facebook

Good Luck and thanks for stopping by

This is a sponsored giveaway, brought to you by the Northern Virginia Youth Ballet. 

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

10 Awesome Holiday Carepackage Ideas {Sponsored Post}

It's about that time to start putting together your Holiday/Christmas themed care packages for your deployed or TDY service members. I love putting them together because it helps send a little bit of home to them. You get to feel a little more connected with them when they are gone. I know that if you aren't a regular with the care-packages it can feel a little daunting starting the process. What to put in, what not to put in, themed and all that fun little stuff. But never fear, Cammo Style Love is here. If you aren't like me and just enjoying going out and staring at the aisles in the store to make it up as I go along, then maybe Pinterest is your friend. Make sure you're following my Military Tips and Fun board on Pinterest. Planning ahead and preparation are good things sometimes. So, with that in mind, here are some of my favorite holiday care package ideas!

1. ELF themed carepackage - I'm not sure what else feels more like Christmas than the movie Elf. So much fun right? This care-package calls for easy to ship gingerbread cookies and some other fun things you see in the movie. Watch the movie with your kids while you're putting this together. It will surely get you in the holiday spirit.

2. Deployment Stocking Stuffers - This amazing post is by another military spouse blogger, whom I'm super blessed to call friend. Jo has an amazing blog in general and has tons of care-package ideas on her blog {so make sure you bookmark it!}. From the practical to the fun, these ideas are sure to make for one awesome care-package.

3. Handprint Art! - I love love love handprint/fingerprint art, and my kids love making it. When Mr. Air Force is deployed we are constantly including art for him and he loves it. It ends up all over his room, and taped to the understand of his bunk {or on the ceiling above}. Plus, these ideas make great Christmas presents for your family. My go to place for all my fingerprint/handprint art needs is the Fun Handprint Art blog!

4. Decorating the box - Check out my Halloween Care Package post for how we decorated the inside of the box. It's a super easy way and can be customized for any occasion. If you want to use wrapping paper that's a breeze as well. The way that I do it is by simply take the box apart, lay it flat, (I order the package of USPS priority mail boxes and those come apart easy) wrap it and then put it back together. Easy breezy!!

5. Dollar Store!! Dollar Store!! Dollar Store!!!! - The Dollar Store, or whatever you have that is similar to you, is my first stop when putting together a care-package. I go there for my wrapping paper, stickers, little decorations to fit the holiday and cheap necessities.

7. cake in a jar - This is my go to for deployment treats! You can buy cake mix or make from scratch any kind you want. Grab yourself some of the small mason jars with lid and seal. Prep them as you would cupcakes - preheat oven as directed and spray glass jars. Fill them like you would a cupcake tin, about 1/3 full. After you pull them out of the oven, trim any excess that has started to come out and immediately seal. The heat causes the jars to self-seal (you'll hear the pop!). Include some frosting and you're good to go!

8. Letters - Especially during holidays and birthdays I collect letters, and extra Christmas cards, from myself, the kids, our friends and families and include them in the box. They can take their time opening them or open them all at once. Depending on their living situation, including some twine or ribbon for them to hang the cards from in their quarters is a fun idea as well.

9. Snow in a Can - there's a couple different types you can find on amazon. It's just plain fun right?
Instant Snow in a Can
Instant Magic Snow in Can

10. Don't Forget New Year's! - Its right after your winter season holidays, whatever you celebrate, so don't forget it! This simple pin I found is probably the easiest and sweetest thing I've ever seen! It's just too cute so click the link.

Care packages are one of those things that can make deployment fun. Being a military family has its ups and downs, but finding the good in the 'less than good' makes it that much easier. That's why I'm happy to have Lincoln Military Housing as a sponsor on this post. Since 1965 Lincoln Property Management has been striving for excellence in their field. As Lincoln Military Housing they aim to provide quality housing on over 20 installations, as well as community events and support to the families living within their communities. Check out their website, especially if you are getting ready to PCS, to see if you will be heading to a location where Lincoln Military Housing is.
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Monday, November 2, 2015

Five Ways to Thank a Veteran this Veterans Day

Veterans Day is coming up in a few short weeks. Days like this are so special to me for obvious, and not so obvious reasons. As a military family any day that I can especially honor those that serve is important. Most of the time its emotional for me, thinking about my husband and what he sacrifices, my friends and their families, and those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. And despite the continuing argument of Veterans Day vs. Memorial Day, any day that people can stop and be reminded is a good thing in my book. That's why I am so excited to be a part of the Great Clips
Veterans Day program. With Veterans Day quickly approaching I wanted to touch on some of the ways you can say "Thank You!"

1. Volunteer - This is perhaps my favorite way to thank a Veteran any day of the week. Finding a group that helps military families, whether you are one or not, is one of the most amazing ways to thank a Veteran any time of the year. Have you ever heard of Honor Flight? It's an amazing program that takes WWII and Korean War Veterans to see their memorial in the DC area. If you live in DC you can come and be a greater at the memorials, clap, wave flags and have your kids (if you have them) pass out thank you cards. If you don't live near DC you can become a Guardian, that travels with the veteran from their hometown to the memorial as a chaperon of sorts. Look for an organization in your area. See my tabs up top for a huge listing of non-profits that are always looking for support and volunteers.

2. Reach out to families around you - There are very few of us that go through life without having some connection to the military or a military family. Look for those people around you and reach out to them. I have never been so blessed in my life then when people have reached out to our family to offer support and love. Whether that be sending my husband and his roommates care packages or offering to help me here at home.

3. Write a letter with Soldier's Angels - This is an organization that both my mom and I have participated with. Solider's Angels have grown and has extensive programs for support deployed service members, retired Veterans, female service members and families.

4. Educate Yourself and Those Around You - Something frequently cited by military families at conferences and in surveys is the feeling of a military/civilian divide. The percentage of those serving gets smaller and smaller, which only accentuates that feeling. Service members are coming home having experienced unspeakable things, and growing more and more weary as time goes on. Take the time to understand PTS  (Post Traumatic Stress), anxiety and depression that comes from returning home and feeling alone, survivors guilt and the struggles of our wounded warriors and their caregivers. Speak openly and honestly about it with your children and family members. The assumption that one person CAN'T make a difference is anything but true.

5. Visit a Great Clips on November 11th! - Stop by and visit your local Great Clips {click for more info}. You'll get a free hair cut card to pass on to a Veteran. It's a really amazing way to give back and bless a veteran, even if it is something as small a haircut. If you don't need a haircut tell a Veteran in your life so that they can visit themselves and get their free haircut! With more than 3,800 salons throughout the United States and Canada, Great Clips is the world’s largest salon brand. So odds are, there's one close to you {check here!}. What I love about having a blog is that I get to highlight organizations, like Great Clips, that have shown dedication to their communities with a focus on philanthropic and volunteer activities. So make sure to join Great Clips on Veteran's Day to get and give a haircut!

how do you and your family care for and thank the Veteran's in your life and community?

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